Today we honor holy Saint Edith, an English nun of Wilton, a daughter of the 10th century King Edgar of England, born at Kemsing, Kent, in 961.
Saint Edith was the “product” of rape: the illegitimate daughter of King Edgar by Wilfrida, a woman of noble birth whom King Edgar carried off forcibly from the nunnery at Wilton Abbey. He took her to his manor house at Kemsing, where Edith was born. (Edg
o her nunnery, taking the child Edith with her.
Little Edith was educated by the nuns of Wilton Abbey, where her mother had become abbess. In the following years Edith herself became known for her love for Jesus, her self-denial in fasting and prayer, and her Godly example. In 979, Edith dreamt that she lost her right eye and believed it was a warning of the death of her half-brother King Edward the Martyr , who in fact was murdered at that very time.
Edith was offered the crown of England by some, but she refused it. Edith built a church at Wilton. Dunstan was invited to the dedication and wept much during liturgy. Being asked the reason, he said it was because Edith would die in three weeks. And so she died on September 15th, 984, at the age of 23. Edith was greatly celebrated for her learning and her sanctity, and miracles were reported after her death.
In time, St Edith became an important national patron: twenty-one churches in England were named after her, and Wilton Abbey itself was typically described as ‘the house and church of St Edith of Wilton’ or as the ‘monastery of St Mary and St Edith of Wilton’.
Through the prayer of Saint Edith, O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us!